Winnipeg based artist, Willow Rector, presents TRAPPED. An exhibit of work that explores cultural narratives of the Canadian landscapes through intricate embrodiery on trap-line hides.

TRAPPED opens at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Gallery September 7, from 5:30-7:30.
The work is on display until November 25, 2017.

Artist Statement:

Conceptually, Trapped examines the influence of the aesthetic and cultural narratives surrounding the Group of Seven on my understanding of the relationship between an artist and the land she calls home. In the last century, the monumental influence of the mythical landscapes envisioned by the Group of Seven painted emotional and aesthetic topographies that shaped the ways many Canadians saw the land and defined the visual language they used to imagine themselves. Although the original intent of the Group of Seven was to free Canadian art from a colonial vernacular that repressed burgeoning national identities, ironically their work has metamorphosized into the very thing they sought to resist.



The subversive power of these works has become ‘trapped’ by their breath-taking beauty and mass appeal, which has accelerated their co-option into the canon of twentieth century Canadian art. Sadly, their aesthetic has atrophied to the point where it is no longer capable of bending light to reflect the realities of the Canadian landscape in the twenty-first century. These sculptures examine the way cultural narratives about the Canadian landscape, about ‘home,’ contour identity. The sharp juxtaposition of the animal pelts and embroidered allusions to iconic Group of Seven paintings creates a series of deliberate tensions that enliven my exploration of the relationship between landscape art, the land itself, and the bodies who inhabit those real and imagined spaces.

About the Artist:

Willow Rector is a Winnipeg-based visual artist. She completed degrees in English Literature from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba and taught in that field for a number of years. Having first learned hand embroidery in her youth, she made the switch to a full-time career as a visual artist in 2011. Rector has studied various media through courses and mentorship programs at Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Martha Street Studio. Her artistic practice focuses on issues of subjectivity, identity and the body, addressing themes ranging from women’s artistic and literary history to the Canadian landscape. She explores connections between the tactile nature of textiles and the way memory is constructed. Rector’s works have been included in several group exhibitions throughout Manitoba, as well as in Alberta and Ontario. She has received grants from the Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council.